Hello steemians and travellers!
Let's pick up from where we left. Basically, I have covered most of the Boracay experience, but there are still activities that were not shared in the previous post. This post will cover the remaining days we had in Boracay.
Welcome to the 16th edition of Kim's Quest! This post will be more like a mix of everything about Boracay that was not discussed in the previous two posts. I'll dive immediately into the topic. If you're curious about why Boracay became the Best Island in Asia for 2019, please check out these two posts:
- Kim's Quest #14: Strolling Around Boracay at Night
- Kim's Quest #15: Boracay (Part 1) - Best Island in Asia (Condé Nast Traveler's 2019 Readers' Choice Awards)
Let me start with the island hopping. Before heading to Bulabog Beach (the same beach where we had the parasailing and banana boat ride the previous day), we had a short stop at D'mall to buy some supplies.
The same flow as the day before, we had to register and then proceed to our designated motor boat or bangka. Before the start of the activity, there was an orientation and we were advised to put on our life vest. Our first destination was Puka Beach which is located at the other side of the island.
Boracay is still amazing as seen from the motor boat. High end luxury hotels perch on the cliffs of the island. Before reaching Puka Beach, I was already in awe of view.
Boracay Island was voted as the Best Island in Asia for 2019 by Condé Nast Traveler in its 2019 Readers' Choice Awards. For those of you who don't know, Conde Nast Traveler is a luxury and lifestyle travel magazine that ranks best islands in the world every year based on the votes of travelers from all around the word.
This year, a record of 600,000 traveler voted and Boracay emerged to be the best in Asia. Cebu and Visayas Islands (where I'm from) is second and then followed by Penang, Malaysia as third. Palawan, Philippines is fourth and then Bali, Indonesia as fifth. Three out of five are from the Philippines.
Puka Beach is in the northern tip of the island. It was named after puka shells that littered the white sands which are then picked by the locals to make beautiful handicrafts and souvenirs. My new profile picture here on Steem was taken from Puka Beach.
The sand is not as powdery as that in White Beach, but the view is stunning. Puka Beach is now as well-known as the other beaches in Boracay. The water there is stronger and rougher as observed when we got there via boat.
What I love about the beach is that it's secluded and far from the crowded part of Boracay. Although it can be accessed from the main part of via tricycle, it will pass through a forested area and it's a little bit expensive. The best way is through island hopping since it's always part of the itinerary.
Our time in Puka Beach was limited as we still have other places to go as part of the itinerary. We just take tons of photos in the white beach before heading back to our motor boat. If given a chance, I will definitely go back and probably watch the sunset or stay for a night in the beach if it's still allowed.
At least we had time to be silly and did some shots for the gram. Next will be more on our underwater experience.
Snorkeling and Helmet Diving
Part of the island hopping package is snorkeling in undeveloped islands surrounding Boracay. What I love in the new rules is that the number of boats in the snorkeling sites is limited. This is to keep the impact on marine life as minimal as possible.
After snorkeling, we went to the Malay, Aklan which is in the mainland to have lunch. It was unlimited buffet style, but we only had one hour to eat. The meal was sumptuous! Having a taste of local dishes that Panay can offer was one that I looked forward.
Helmet diving was in the afternoon. After the buffet lunch in the mainland, which was still part of the island hopping package, we headed to the helmet diving site in between the mainland and Boracay Island.
While it was not the best experience, it was still worth sharing. After the briefing and safety precautions, we were submerged 5 meters underwater via a submersible that's tethered with an oxygen line from above.
I had stuffy nose that time and I was not aware that it would be difficult to equalize underwater when your nose is clogged. I was not able to equalize immediately which made my ring and it really hurt. But it didn't stop me from experiencing the sensations underwater. Maybe I should be wary next time, but I have to admit it was one hell of an experience.
Our Last Night in the Island
After helmet diving in the afternoon, we decided to explore island more in our last night there. First stop was Station X. It's a modern food place within the vicinity of Hue Hotel. It's near Station 3, but still at a walking distance from D'mall.
It was so fancy and a good place to relax. Different restaurants offer different cuisines, but they're a little bit pricey. After Station X, we went to D'talipapa Market.
D'talipapa is a local seafood market where restaurants offer "paluto" - a method where you have to buy their fresh seafood and they will cook for you onsite.
Coco Mama - one of the best tropical desserts in Boracay - is located in D'talipapa. We tried their specialty ice cream and it was heaven! The ice cream and its special toppings are not super sweet. They're just right for me. The presentation was also good. It was placed in their signature buko shell. Although a little bit pricey for those two scoops of ice cream, I guess it was normal for a Boracay rate.
After D'talipapa, we decided to watch the dancing chefs of Boracay and then bought souvenirs before calling it a night.
Last Glimpse of White Beach
Before heading home in the third day, we decided to visit White Beach for the last time. It was a calm sunny morning and the beach was almost empty. Only a few people can be seen walking in the beach, so decided to have our shenanigans.
That relaxing experience while on the sand with the waves lapping at your feet is one worth repeating. I felt I could stay there forever.
There's a limit of daily number of tourists that are allowed in the island. By controlling the number of tourists to a manageable level and based on the capacity of the island, better experience is assured. This is because tourists can sometimes be out of control.
The likes of Nas Daily and Lost LeBlanc have mentioned in their vlogs how the Philippines is trying to fix the overtourism problem by setting Boracay as an example. I hope other islands and beaches here would follow the feat of Boracay. Now, Boracay has still a long way to go before it can fully say that it has achieved its sustainable tourism. Developments are still ongoing, but Boracay is heading to the right direction. If maintained, those pristine beaches and azure waters will be preserved and the slogan of the Department of Tourism, "more fun forever" will come true for the future generations.
Now that this Panay Island Tour has ended, I don't know what to share next. Just kidding! I will be sharing more about Cebu and Visayas Islands, the second best island in Asia for 2019 by Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards. After all, I'm from Cebu and I still have a lot of places in Cebu to share. Stay tuned, folks!
First, Second, Third, and Fourth Part:
Welcome to Kim's small corner in the Steem blockchain. He is a chemical engineer by profession, but a blogger by passion. He is a wanderlust and an adventure seeker. Join his quests as he visits secluded destinations, climbs mountains, tries new and exotic dishes, and explores his country (The Philippines) and the rest of the world (it will just follow since he's still a poor, corporate slave with tons of bills to pay and two siblings to support in college).